Friday, August 24, 2012

Cultivate For Pleasure

The blackberries seemed to sneak up on me this year. I'm pretty sure Kahleesi sniffed them out before I could even get my hands on them. We are lucky to have such a wide range of trails surrounding our house where we can take our leisurely walks in the sun and pick berries. The wild spread of blackberries is just a few gallops just outside our front door. I make my way through the shrubbery to get to the good ones while Kahleesi runs and plays. I do my best to avoid the blasted thorns that if you are not careful, they will getchew' every time. I do believe it is well worth the trouble though once you pop that first juicy, berry into your mouth. Sometimes you will get a mouth puckering, sour burst of juice in your mouth while others will taste a bit more sweet with ripeness. 
 Sometimes, we all need a little reminder that with hard work, there will surely be great pleasure to follow. Whether you are a successful business man, a hard working doctor saving lives, or a student trying to find your way through life, there is always a bit or a great deal of work involved which makes it all that much more worth the time spent. All the scritches and scratches you are left with in the end will serve as little reminders of how hard you worked toward your goals and accomplishments; besides life would be boring if it were too easy.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Pizza on the grill

Say what?!...yes you should all know by now that you can make pizza on the grill. In fact there aren't (aren't, is that a word?) too many things that you can't make on the grill these days: grilled clams, grilled lettuce, grilled fish.. and don't forget grilled fruit for all those yummy desserts out there that you serve with ice cream, hmmm....thats another post; but Pizza, I have to admit I was a little intimidated by the idea. I've seen it done before by some of those crazy, talented chefs on the cooking channels but I was a little worried about my capability. But fear not..my first try was a success, and I know yours will be too.
Of course you can always buy your pizza dough from the supermarket or you can simply make your own its not too difficult, and while you're waiting for it to rise you can prep your other ingredients.

For the dough you'll need:
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
2 1/4 tsp. or 1 envelope of yeast
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
2 1/2 cups flour, plus extra for kneading
1 tsp salt
2 T. olive oil
1-2 tsp butter, room temp for greasing

1. Put warm water in a liquid measuring cup, sprinkle the yeast over the water and stir in the sugar; let stand for 10 minutes or until it begins to bubble.
2. Grease a large bowl with the butter and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour and salt, make a well in the middle and pour in the olive oil and yeast mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon until stiff dough is formed. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. Add extra flour if needed.
3. Place dough in buttered bowl, turning to coat all sides, cover with a clean tea towel, and set in a warm spot to rise for 30 minutes until doubled in size. While waiting begin to prep the other ingredients for your pizza toppings. You will need:

For the toppings:
6 oz of fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
4 plum tomatoes, sliced
1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
1/4 teaspoon(s) coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 cup(s) sliced fresh basil leaves
1 Tablespoon(s) olive oil

1. Prepare outdoor grill for covered, direct grilling on medium-low.
2. If making your own dough punch down dough or use store bought and cut into 4 equal pieces. On one end of oiled cookie sheet, with fingertips, spread and flatten 1 piece of dough to about 1/8-inch thickness. (Edge does not need to be even.) On same cookie sheet, repeat with another piece of dough. Repeat with a second oiled cookie sheet and remaining dough.
3. Place all 4 pieces of dough, oiled side down, on hot grill grate. Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until grill marks appear on underside (dough will stiffen and puff).
4. With tongs, turn crusts over. Working quickly, arrange one-fourth of mozzarella, one-fourth of tomatoes, salt, and pepper on each crust. Cover grill and cook pizzas 3 to 4 minutes longer or until undersides are evenly browned and cooked through. 
5. Transfer to cutting board; sprinkle tops of pizzas with basil, and drizzle with olive oil. Cut into wedges and serve.